By BUILDER Magazine Staff.

Remember when paint was paint? Well, it still provides the same function it always has, but it has become more specialized and advanced. Technological improvements, new palettes, and easier color selection processes have moved paint into the new millennium.

Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams' latest introduction is a new color palette that includes over 1,000 original hues that are "cleaner and fresher than what has been available," says Linda Trent, director of color marketing and design. "The pastels have a brighter tone because we have developed a cleaner white."

The company's new line of vibrant exterior latex-based products offer high-hiding qualities, as well as resistance to fading. "Because of pigment advances, the colors are more light stable," says Lane Blackburn, vice president of quality and color. The paint also features cold-weather technology that allows builders to paint even when it's 35 degrees versus the normal 55 degrees.

Another product aimed at easing the paint selection process is the Valley Vineyard and Spices collection from Devine Color in Lake Oswego, Ore. Created by artist Gretchen Schauffler, the collection's 12 earthy colors coordinate with each other; taking the guesswork out of choosing paint. "The colors have a transitional quality," says Schauffler, "so they look as if they have the same undertones." Initially created for homeowners, Devine Color's product line has attracted a large builder following because of its thick, no splatter consistency, Schauffler says.

California Paints in Andover, Mass., chose another focus. Its new 2010 acrylic latex paint has been reformulated so that the flat paint can be scrubbed just like the semi-gloss and eggshell sheens. This is all good news for builders; you get improved paint quality, fresher and more varied colors, and an easier selection process for your buyers. What more could you want?

Sugar and spice: Valley Vineyard amp; Spices is a collection of rich, earthy colors. The acrylic latex paints are odorless, stain-resistant, and washable with soap and water. The manufacturer says the paint has a rich yogurt-like consistency and offers one-coat coverage. The 12 colors coordinate with the manufacturer's other lines. Devine Color. 503-675-9519. www.devinecolor.com.

Kids' stuff: The Kids' Color Collection includes 51 colors that help builders and home buyers choose the right colors for different age groups. Organized into three life-stage categories, the colors include Rock-A-Bye Baby for infants; Childhood Dreams for toddlers and young school children; and Fun and Games for pre-teens. Behr. 800-854-0133. www.behrpaint.com.

Accent minded: Exterior Accents offers UV resistance, high-hiding abilities, and reliable color. The manufacturer says the advance bases in the product allow builders to use the brightest and boldest colors without worrying about fading due to weather and light. The paint can be applied in temperatures as low as 35 degrees, so builders can paint earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Sherwin-Williams. 800-524-5979. www.sherwin-williams.com.

Flat back: The new 2010 acrylic latex interior paint can cover black paint with white in one coat, the manufacturer says. It offers durability and stain-resistance, and the manufacturer says the flat paint can be scrubbed like semi-gloss paint. Quick drying and environmentally friendly, the product comes in three finishes: flat, eggshell, and semi gloss. California Paints. 800-225-1141. www.californiapaints.com.